By: EverythingEQ News Team
The 2017 Kentucky Derby trail kicked off in California on Saturday, January 7, with a duel down to the wire between two talented horses. But it was Jerry and Ann Moss’ Gormley who got up for the win in the $100,000 Gr. 3 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita Park.
The John Sheriffs trainee, who was sent out under jockey Victor Espinoza, was between horses early on and stalked leader American Anthem off the rail. The latter set fractions of :22.54, :45.46, and 1:10.13 through the six furlong mark. As the field came around the turn and prepared to hit the stretch, Gormley began to cut into the length lead American Anthem held and then moved alongside him. It seemed Gormley was in the clear at that point, with his closest competition a half-length behind him and just a furlong to go, but American Anthem dug in again under Mike Smith. In the end, Gormley held on to get the win by a head, posting a final time of 1:35.89 for the mile contest run on a sloppy and sealed dirt surface.
“It didn’t surprise me how well he broke out of there today,” jockey Victor Espinoza said of Gormley leaving the gate. “He came into the race in really good shape and got into it right away.”
Trainer John Shirreffs added, “Chantal, [Sutherland has been working him in the mornings], has given me a lot of confidence in how he’s doing. It was great to see him pick it back up again and get it done.”
Gormley picked up 10 points from the win and now stands in second place on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 20 points overall, behind Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Classic Empire, who sits in first place with 30 points. Runner-up American Anthem picked up 4 points and stands 18th on the leaderboard.
Gormley is a Kentucky-bred chestnut son of Malibu Moon and is out of the Bernstein mare Race to Urga. He was purchased privately by current owners Jerry and Ann Moss, who ran 1994 Kentucky Oaks winner Sardula, 2005 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo, 2007 Santa Anita Derby winner Tiago, and the multiple Eclipse Award winning, 2x Breeders’ Cup champion and legendary mare, Zenyatta. From four starts, Gormley has three wins and earnings of $296,000.
Following the race, owner Jerry Moss stated he has “No idea where [Gormley] will run next.”